Meet the team

The people behind Widening Participation at the University of Sussex.

Anne-Marie Bird
Outreach Project Lead (Key Stage 2-3)

I have worked in the Widening Participation (WP) team at the University of Sussex since 2011, and I thoroughly enjoy working at such a beautiful campus and location.

Previously, I have worked at Queen Mary, University of London, and the University of Brighton, in student events and WP roles.

My role at Sussex currently includes responsibility for our projects with primary age students, in recognition of the fact that supporting aspirations and raising awareness at a young age is a key tool in supporting young people to achieve their educational potential.

I also look after programmes around resilience and wellbeing, and projects around supporting LAC/CIC children and young people. I was the first in my family to attend university, and am keen to see that young people from all backgrounds and experiences are properly represented in higher education.
01273 872585

Mandy Cudby
Outreach Co-ordinator

I am responsible for managing our WP Student Ambassador programme, as well as developing and delivering a training programme to ensure our ambassadors have the skills they need to support the WP team’s activities both on and off campus.

I also work closely with our network of London schools in delivering outreach which helps pupils to make an informed decision about higher education.

Prior to joining the University of Sussex, I worked at Aston University as a Schools Liaison Officer where I was responsible for managing all pre-16 enrichment activities for students throughout Birmingham and the West Midlands.

I have also completed a PGCE in Primary Education, in addition to a CELTA, having taught English as a Foreign Language for a number of years.
01273 873422

Chris Derbyshire
Partnership Manager

I currently manage partnerships on behalf of Widening Participation with a group of schools and colleges across the coastal and rural areas of Sussex.

I line-manage a small team of practitioners, including many specialist areas, to support the interventions we can make with young people via school/college based events and those here at the university.

I am passionate about young people being able to make informed choices about their progression options and career pathways as well as the business needs of the partners, schools and colleges with whom I work.

I left school with no significant qualifications or consideration for my future but was fortunate enough to complete an electrical apprenticeship and stayed in that sector unfulfilled for 20 years.

Through chance I attended an Access course at Birkbeck University and then University of Sussex to study Contemporary History in 2000 with a view to changing my career path options.

I subsequently completed a Masters and suspended work on a doctorate in order to take a full-time managerial role in Widening Participation in 2007 (a field of work that had I had become increasingly more interested in during my time at university).

My personal background (aligned with the areas I studied) and continued development have informed how I have worked within Widening Participation for more than 15 years.
01273 678264

Sam Dunnett
Deputy Head of Widening Participation

After completing my Psychology degree at the University of Central Lancashire I worked initially as a graduate trainee with an insurance company in Portsmouth.

I've had a very varied career including retail management, catering management, Human Resources, management training and coaching, complementary therapist and administration.

I joined the University of Sussex in 2010 and worked in one of our academic schools before moving to the WP team as an Events Lead. I am now responsible for the operational management of the WP team including outreach, schools partnerships and academic events.   

I love the job I do and am especially interested in how enhancing young people's wellbeing and mindset can help raise their academic attainment levels and really help them achieve their potential.

I'm a First Generation Scholar myself and I would like to see the opportunities education has brought me open to everyone.
01273 678551

Gino Graziano 
Joint Head of Widening Participation

I have been working in widening participation for 13 years. 

After completing a degree in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of East London I started working in the WP team at London School of Economics, where I coordinated Saturday and Summer Schools, the student ambassador scheme and Aiming for a College Education visits.

I also coordinated the School’s involvement with Pathways to Law. After LSE I worked as Widening Participation Outreach manager at the University of Brighton, where I oversaw the outreach programme, working with learners in primary schools to mature students on Access to HE programmes.

I subsequently moved to the University of Sussex, and am now in the role of Joint Head of Widening Participation.

I am particularly interested in evaluation and evidence-gathering, which I believe is fundamental to the success of the national widening participation project, and have a remit for developing and implementing an evaluation plan for outreach.

I am also a firm believer in collaborative working across all stages of the student lifecycle, between internal departments and higher education institutions. Both of these, I feel, are critical to the future of widening participation and the experience of the learners we work with.

Cerri Hider
Events Project Lead (Post-16) (currently on maternity leave)
01273 877618

Sarah Holman
Events Projects Lead (pre-16)

My first taste of Widening Participation was at secondary school where I was part of the Aim Higher scheme, then, as a First Generation Scholar myself, I went on to study Business with Marketing at the University of Brighton.

During my time there I worked as a Widening Participation Ambassador, speaking to students about my university experience and mentoring primary students (amongst other things), before completing a placement year at The Walt Disney Company in London working in PR.

I graduated from Brighton in 2015 and stayed on to work as an Events Assistant on their International Orientation Programme, before coming to the University of Sussex as an Events and Summer School Assistant in March 2016.

I now work on our pre-16 academic events and programmes, as well as our year 10 summer schools and other events.
01273 873043 

Jacqui Le Huec
Team and Outreach Administrator

My relationship with the University of Sussex began in 1998 when I enrolled as a student. I gained a BA Hons in Cultural Studies and then I achieved a Masters in Life History.

I developed a passion for the university and the beautiful campus. I felt really proud to then work as a Widening Participation co-ordinator at two local secondary schools, which meant I was able to share my passion by bringing students on to campus and introducing them to the idea of life as an undergraduate.

I now work in the outreach team and I am excited to be able to still work with schools and my experience as a WP co-ordinator has given me valuable insight into the kinds of barriers that might prevent young people from accessing higher education.

I have qualifications in IAG and I have always been passionate about encouraging students to aspire to wherever their dreams take them.
01273 876810

Chris Mason
Academic Events Manager

I have lived in Sussex all my life and my affiliation with the University of Sussex runs very deep.

I visited the campus in secondary school and it made me certain I wanted to study here – I love the greenery, the atmosphere and the people.

After attending a local college, I studied for an English Language degree and worked as a Widening Participation ambassador throughout my time here.

I became involved in WP because I was a First-Generation Scholar and university gave me so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise - I wanted to tell others about my experiences and promote the independence and autonomy that a degree can give you.

After completing my studies I became the department’s graduate intern and moved on to become the Summer Schools Assistant before becoming Event Lead and now Events Manager.
01273 873142

Karen Stalker
Events Project Lead

I’ve wanted to work here at the University of Sussex since the first time I visited campus three years ago – it’s really beautiful, the atmosphere is really positive and inspiring and I work with so many passionate and committed colleagues within the widening participation team.

My job gives me the opportunity to work supporting young people across Sussex and London to make informed choices about their future.

I find working within Academic Events and Summer Schools rewarding and really interesting. I studied at the University of Liverpool and Aberystwyth as a first generation scholar and young parent and have worked for many years within student support, student finance, careers advice and guidance and adult guidance in Liverpool and Croydon.
01273 873038 

Maddison Taylor
Villiers Park Learning Mentor

I am very happy to be a part of the Widening Participation team at Sussex University having undertaken a BSc in Neuroscience here.

After graduating in 2015, I took my first position with the Alzheimer’s Society working in recruitment for research. I enjoyed my time there, but felt a natural pull towards working with younger people.

Working as a learning mentor with Villiers Park Educational Trust and the University of Sussex, allows me to share the great experiences I had during University with future first generation students like myself.

Much of the support I received during my time here was due to the opportunities provided by the WP department, so I am very excited to be able to offer young people similar support in achieving their full potential.
01273 873006 

Paul Wiggins
Senior Widening Participation Officer

Since graduating from the University of Nottingham I have worked in education in one guise or another.

After a year as an EFL teacher I moved into the third sector and spent five fantastic years working for IntoUniversity, an education charity based in London.

I then joined the Widening Participation team at SOAS, University of London before taking up my current role at the University of Sussex in January 2015.

I strongly believe every young person should have access to the support, guidance and nurture that will help them fulfil their potential. I hope my role contributes towards a fairer education landscape for young people.
01273 873042

Dan Wise
Villiers Park Learning Mentor

Since graduating from the University of Sussex in 2014 with a History BA, I have worked across a number of roles in education.

I hugely enjoy the positivity and sociability of working with young people, and as a First Generation Scholar, I am passionate about working towards creating a more equal and inclusive educational landscape.

I have a huge affinity for the University of Sussex, both the Institution, and the beautiful setting – I was born in Sussex, and a great deal of my family are based here, so my connection to the area is strong.

My role in the team predominantly involves mentoring students at our partner Schools in Crawley; working closely with our partner the Villiers Park Educational Trust, we aim to raise aspirations, and equip scholars with the skills and support they need to make considered decisions – both educationally and more holistically.
01273 873006

Carole Wilkinson
Joint Head of Widening Participation

After successfully completing a degree in Business Studies and a subsequent PGCE specialising in Business Education, University of Bangor, I taught a variety of business-related courses in both secondary and further education sectors.

After being appointed by Aimhigher Sussex to deliver a programme of outreach for West Sussex schools based at the University of Chichester I then managed the Widening Participation team at Chichester for five years.

After joining the University of Sussex in 2013 I have been involved in developing the Widening Participation outreach programme through our innovative First Generation Scholars scheme, focusing primarily on our Access offer during the first stage of the student life cycle.

My passion is to ensure that we engage with all stakeholders involved in the student journey by drawing on the expertise of our academics and collaborative partners to enhance our core programme.
01273 877045

Georgia Lilley
Outreach Assistant

I graduated with a BSc Geography degree from Sussex in 2017, after which I joined the Widening Participation team as a graduate intern.

I now work as an Outreach Assistant in the team, working across the Outreach, Partnerships and Events teams. I thoroughly enjoy being able to work with students from a variety of backgrounds and supporting them with their decision-making.
01273 873629

Jack Rowland
Villiers Park Learning Mentor

Since completing my Masters in Theatre (collectives) at the University of Chichester in 2014, I have worked in education and developed a real passion for working with young people.

I worked at a school in Brighton, managing the Learning Resource Centre where I taught literature classes and ran groups for higher ability students, giving them support with their academic work and helping them run school events. I also worked closely with special educational needs students to develop their reading abilities and help raise their aspirations.

I have been in education, either working or studying, for most of my life. As a First Generation Scholar; I have felt privileged for the opportunities I have been presented with. I’m passionate and excited to be able to help young people from similar backgrounds as myself on their journey towards whatever kind of education they choose to pursue.

Georgina Smith
Events and Summer School Assistant

After completing my Psychology Degree at Oxford Brookes University I worked in a variety of training, learning and development roles. I’ve been fortunate to gain a range of experience across sectors, including working for charities and higher education providers.

I returned to university in 2014 as a mature postgraduate student and enjoyed the opportunity to expand my knowledge and meet new people. I work part-time in the WP team and support the events team in running and preparing for Summer Schools and the Sussex Study Experience programme.

I enjoy having the opportunity to work with a variety of people from young people to academics, as well as coordinators from schools across London and Sussex. No two days are the same, which keeps things interesting. The thing I enjoy most is seeing young people’s perspectives change. They can attend an event or session initially feeling hesitant or unsure and leave buzzing with ideas, inspired to grab their future with both hands and reach their potential.
01273 873690

Lily Maguire
Outreach Assistant

Since graduating from the University of Bath in 2015, I gained a graduate internship at the University of Exeter and worked in the Widening Participation team at the University of Cambridge, before joining the University of Sussex.

I am responsible for delivering our outreach programme to our partner schools. I am passionate about providing information and guidance to allow young people to feel confident in their knowledge of higher education, regardless of their backgrounds.

Having been a First Generation Scholar myself, and growing up in the local area, it is rewarding to work with young people to reach their full potential and make informed decisions about their futures.
01273 871791